Malplaquet farm, producing to survive…

In 1976, five families decided to settle on 70 hectares forming a commune close to the nature. They created a GAEC (legal group of farmers) to start growing veggies and animals, while they all come from the city. Beginnings have been really difficult, but today they own 90 goats, 50 sheep, 40 cows, 4 horses and 2 pigs. The farm also gathers many fruit trees. They produce every day 300 liters of fresh milk, which they transform into yoghurt and cheese to sell on the market. Most of the first settlers are still working in the farm but they will be soon retired. Some of their children are following agricultural studies and new young people may settle…

Now that a new generation has to handle the farm, it is time to review the achievements. The idealism of the beginning has been replaced by the necessity to produce always more to survive: always increasing cattle to get subsidies from the state. This process lead to the end of the veggies gardening and also to a huge burden of work (milking, collecting hay, moving the cattle…). Despite the amount of work, incomes are very low and don’t enable to invest in new tools or some comfort. It is partially because the farm made the choice to offer very good quality product (fresh and organic) at a really low price. In return, the farmers have to live on the state subsidies in an under-heated house when you can get a hot shower only twice a week…

Will the new generation be able to find new orientations to liberate time to really enjoy the place? Everything is in place for a successful future : lots of lands, numerous natural resources, the older knowledge, a spirit close to the nature and the consumers, strong social ties between the people, even if fights sometimes occurs due to the amount of work…

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